Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Industrial waste now destined for landfills soon may be re-used in manufacturing, a University of Tennessee program manager said Wednesday.

“One company’s waste can often be used in another company’s manufacturing operation,” said Dr. Richard Buggeln of UT’s Center for Industrial Services.

“The challenge is letting them know what’s out there and getting the interested parties together.”

Buggeln said the exchange of waste products can cut disposal and raw materials costs, boost sales, save landfill space and protect the environment.

Buggeln is compiling a list of wastes generated and raw materials sought by Tennessee industries. He initially is concentrating on the largest manufacturers in Knox, Davidson, Hamilton and Shelby counties.

The list will appear in the Tennessee Materials Exchange Bulletin, a brochure which will be sent by December to thousands of Tennessee industries, Buggeln said.

Companies will not be named in the brochure. Those interested in a listed material may contact UT to get more information, he said.

‘We try to bring parties together, then we step aside and they negotiate their own terms,” Buggeln said.

A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study estimates 12 million tons of industrial wastes were exchanged in the United States in 1991.

The report says materials with the highest probability of finding markets include metal, plastics, wood, containers, furniture and equipment.

“The economics are what drives this whole concept of industrial exchange,” Buggeln said. “Many companies are already knowledgeable about evaluating the worth of their materials.

“There are about 7,500 industries in the state, and we would like to make sure they all know about the materials exchange.”

The materials exchange is part of the CIS Waste Reduction Assistance Program. It is one of many CIS activities to help entrepreneurs create products from materials that industries discard as waste.

Scrap wood and cloth fibers now taken to landfills have good development potential in Tennessee, Buggeln said. Their marketing success often hinges on factors such as purity, volume and location of the materials, he said.

Contact: Dr. Richard Buggeln (615-532-8657)